It has certainly been a time of proliferation of digital out of home, and this trend will not slow down as aspects such as geo-location and hyper targeting allow OOH to connect with consumers in so many ways.
It goes without saying that the future of OOH is digital. Not just in terms of digital panels replacing the traditional large format static faces we find littering our landscapes, but in terms of genuine integration and working across the entire digital value-chain.
Added to this the ubiquitous mobile device and there is no reason not to think differently. That said, there is still, and always will be, a role for the various iterations of the traditional format, not just because of the cost of replacing all faces with digital, but because of the relevance of such formats in the consumer journey.
While stating the obvious on a number of key trends driving the industry globally, the reality is that it will take some time for South Africa to catch up with international best practice, even though we do have a well-established industry. Some of the key drivers of the past year include:
- The understanding of big data is changing the industry for good, enabled through the likes of geo-location and hyper targeting on the back of mobile usage – thereby allowing brands to connect with consumers in different ways and providing real-time relevant messages in the moments that count
- While still in its infancy in South Africa, programmatic buying is evolving at a rapid pace in Europe, enabled through the key understanding that OOH is about selling audiences and not faces or panels. As with television, radio and traditional digital channel buying, agencies are beginning to understand the power of audience in the world of OOH and are adopting the same principles to enhance the efficacy of the medium and drive greater conversion
- Interactive digital is one of the most exciting areas of development, with consumers getting up-close and personal with communications delivered through this immersive and engaging medium. Brands can deliver enhanced consumer experiences by providing real-time two-way dialogue through interactive digital kiosks situated in key locations in high audience environments, like retail malls and transit nodes
- Contactless and mobile payment gateways will enhance the e-commerce opportunities in OOH, extending retail practice into non-traditional environments and at points of activations and events
- Video walls will continue to enhance brand message delivery in high definition, dynamic ways and embedded cameras will go a long way to capture and track consumer engagement with this platform
While substantial increased investment is required to evolve the OOH industry in South Africa, low-cost innovative solutions will see a quicker uptake, the likes of social media being a hook to draw consumers into the conversation, with social sharing rewards programmes and a deeper understanding of data becoming the defacto standard. Integration of technologies and devices will gain momentum and consumers will genuinely be at the ‘centre’ of brand conversations.
Craig Page-Lee is the founder of d-cifr.